Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman dropped a little bit of news on Saturday night, saying on Hockey Night in Canada that the Edmonton Oilers have given veteran forward Zack Kassian permission to seek out a trade.
“Zack Kassian has permission from the team to seek out a trade out of the city, try to find a fresh start,” Sportsnet
Kassian has appeared in seven of Edmonton’s ten games this season, scoring one goal while posting a -3 rating. His goal against Chicago came on a nice play at the side of the goal late in the first period last night.
Other than that, however, Kassian has been a non-factor. He took a real bad penalty late on Saturday which led to a Nashville goal, and prior to that he just wasn’t getting much done on the ice in five games worth of work.
After turning into a fan favorite during the 2016-17 season and the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kassian just hasn’t been very good for the Oilers. He’s gotten away from that physical game and has struggled quite a bit with the puck. He doesn’t look comfortable at all out there, and simply does not have the swagger that made him so impactful that spring.
Kassian is currently in the second year of a three-year, $1,950,000 per year contract he signed in the 2017 off-season.
I like Kassian plenty, he’s a fine depth player that brings a physcial element and can contribute a bit offensively when he is on his game. The problem? Kassian has been off his game far more often than he has been on it.
He’s been a healthy scratch at times this season and appears to be frustrated with his situation. His game is off and, quite frankly, he’s not helping the Oilers nearly enough considering his near $2,000,000 cap hit.
Kassian has apparently been given permission by GM Peter Chiarelli to seek out a trade. This is a classy move by management for a player that changed his life in Edmonton. Kassian clearly wants to play and get a fresh start, while the Oil likely want to free up some money on the cap and open a roster spot.
What allowing Kassian to seek out a trade does is keep goodwill between the two sides and allow Kassian to find a soft landing spot that will get him onto the ice and into a better situation than he currently finds himself in.
Essentially, it is a chance for the player to find new life and move forward, while allowing the team to change things up and potentially save some money on the salary cap.
What A Trade Could Look Like:
Let’s be honest, the return here is not going to be very good. Kassian registered 19 points a year ago and had a tough year in the eyes of many. His start to this season, after a slow training camp, has not helped his value.
The main asset returning to the Oilers in any Kassian deal would be cap space. By moving him off the roster, the Oil would gain nearly $2,000,000 in space. It might not seem like a lot, but that is going to make a difference around the deadline if they are still alive in the playoff chase.
That money could be the difference between adding a piece or not being able to make an addition later this season. As for tangible return, the Oilers could flip Kassian for another player seeking a fresh start, but odds are a draft choice is the return here. Think fifth round pick and cap space.
Who Could It Be Now?:
There was a plethora of rumors connecting Kassian to the Carolina Hurricanes this past summer. Considering Carolina’s hot start and the style of play they are rolling with, I don’t think Kassian is currently a fit there. I could see the Boston Bruins being a fit, however. The B’s are in need of a bigger body that can bang a bit, and I assure you that Kassian would become a fan favorite in Beantown.
I wonder about a team like Florida too. The Panthers are off to a tough start for the second straight season, and Dale Tallon has a long history of adding guys like Kassian, the proverbial glue guy.
The ideal scenario is Kassian regains his swagger and plays like he did during the 2016-17 season. That would make the Oilers a better team and would help strengthen the right side of the forward depth chart.
Short of that, however, a trade does make a lot of sense here. Kassian is in need of a fresh start, and I think the Oilers would love to have that extra cap space. Compliments a 6-3-1 start, the Oilers are set up nicely to fight for a playoff spot throughout the season. Having that money could prove very helpful in February.